As a young child, I was fascinated with stocks. The idea of being able to make calculated decisions that could potentially yield an increase in my initial investment became a thrilling game for me. Granted, my investments were as big as I was in my youthful years. However, my passion grew with every investment, and I knew I wanted to be in the financial world when I grew up. Eventually, I decided to become a wealth advisor. In doing so, I realized I was stepping into a highly male-dominated industry. Naturally, I immersed myself in learning to gain a competitive edge among my peers and colleagues.
“Experience is the teacher of all things.” Julius Caesar
As the years passed and my experience as a wealth advisor grew, so did my awareness of what unspoken lessons were vital in propelling my career trajectory. While I may have studied a wide range of industry best practices, and read various books on human behavior, none of my studies provided me with the three most distinct keys I needed in order to level up as an entrepreneur. These lessons were gained through experience – which is something that money can’t buy. Time had to run its course with me as one of the players in my career chess game.
Here are three unspoken lessons I gained through experience:
- Practice the art of a thank you. We live in a world that requires us to be efficient with our time – so for many people, a thank you comes in the form of an email or a social media comment. However, both mediums lack warmth and a true investment of time. There are two things that money can’t buy – time and youth. In this case, the impact is far greater when someone chooses to invest time in a handwritten thank you note. This gesture says, “I value you, and I wanted to invest my time in making sure you knew that,” versus, “This is a formality, so I wanted to check it off my list.” Remember that your actions speak for you too. Make sure you like what your actions say.
- Rethink the power of a tribe. Life – and business – are team sports. Having the right people on your team and a part of your tribe is imperative to your growth. These people should not just be cheerleaders – they should be people who can provide you with support and constructive feedback so that you can grow. Valued are those who dare to share key perspective – especially if it challenges the popular perspective. Therein often lies the exact guidance you need to thrive.
- Implement “Off” Time. Building a brand and developing a career is demanding and requires a time investment above and beyond. Add to that the fact that we live in a world that is 24 / 7 where the expectation is often for business professionals to be available any day and any time. However, guidance can often come across as ill-advised when it comes from trusted counsel that is burnt out. All things – including our trusted devices like smartphones and computers – need time to recharge. Don’t be afraid to observe off-hours to serve your clients better.
Implementing these three best practices has been a game-changer for me. Through investing time in proper “thank yous,” I’ve connected on a much more personal level with clients and colleagues. By being selective with whom I allow into my tribe, I’ve fostered a network of support around me who often say the unpopular thing in order to serve my best interest. The constructive support I have received has allowed me to grow, which has been a gift. While implementing off time is more challenging than it appears to be, I have seen how my guidance has been more in-tune as I lead with a sharper perspective. However, the greatest lesson of all lies in the choice to share what you know so you can invest in others… it’s a lesson that gives back in priceless ways.